Thanksgiving is a time for appreciating the things we have. Whether your family will eat a real or tofu turkey this year, we have 10 turkey-related activities to get you in the turkey spirit.
1 Make an edible turkey.
You will need one red apple, one large marshmallow, six small marshmallows (you may want more for snacking), 15 raisins, one candy corn and as many toothpicks as you have marshmallows. Start with the feathers: spear two raisins onto a toothpick, add one small marshmallow on top. Poke these into your apple. What turkey would be complete without a head? Push two raisins into the big marshmallow-so your turkey can see-and a piece of candy corn for the beak. Attach your turkey head to a toothpick and push the toothpick into the apple-body, across from the feathers.
2 Take a turkey stroll.
Dress up like turkeys and participate in the 28th annual Turkey Trot 8K run and walk through Lincoln Park Thanksgiving morning. The 9 a.m. race starts on Cannon Drive north of Fullerton Parkway. If the 8K seems too much for the kids, try the Plymouth Rock Ramble, which starts at 10 a.m. for ages 2 to 12. "People dress up in anything that has to do with or look like [Thanksgiving]," says Jane Canepa, of CapriEvents, the company that manages the event. Giving to the less fortunate is a big part of Turkey Trot tradition. Last year participants donated nearly five tons of canned goods to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Entry fees are $28 before the race, online at www.caprievents.com, at the running store, Momentum (2001 N. Clybourn Ave.) or $33 on race day. Entry fee for the Ramble is $12 and $15 on race day.
3 Go see giant turkeys at the Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Line up on State Street to see giant helium balloons, marching bands and floats at this year's McDonald's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade starts at 8:30 a.m. at Congress, ending at Randolph.
4 Play like turkeys at the Turkey Bowl.
Thanksgiving is synonymous with watching the big football game on TV. Get your family off the couch to play touch football. The Thanksgiving Turkey Bowl is free from 10 a.m.-noon Thanksgiving morning at Vittum Park (5010 W. 50th St.) and Davis Square Park (4430 S. Marshfield Ave.). The event is open to all ages, no registration required. For information, contact the Chicago Park District at (312) 742-PLAY.
5 Thanksgiving Turkey Shoot.
Don't worry, there won't be any actual shooting. Rather, your family can shoot basketballs in a tournament. The event is free for ages 9-17, but registration is required. Deadline is Nov. 15. The three-day event, Nov. 20-22, runs from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. at Seward Park (375 W. Elm St.) To register, contact the Chicago Park District at (312) 742-7895.
Instead of eating a turkey, why not adopt one? The Adopt-a-Turkey program is based out of New York, with another sanctuary in California. For $20 your family can adopt their very own gobbler, providing a turkey with food, veterinary care and bedding. The adoption "sponsors a turkey for its entire life," says spokeswoman Tricia Ritterbusch. To adopt your own Thanksgiving turkey, visit online at www.adoptaturkey.org.
7 Dance like a turkey.
Try learning the Turkey Trot, a 1900s dance, with your kids. The dance consists of four hopping steps sideways, feet well apart. Taking one step on each beat of music, begin on one leg, then the other swaying to and fro in a straight line. Don't forget to occasionally flap your arms. The dance was denounced by the Vatican and replaced by the foxtrot in 1914.
8 Read stories about turkeys.
What better way to celebrate the turkey than by reading about one. One Chicago Parent favorite is I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Allison Jackson. It's a fun story about a grandma who swallows the family Thanksgiving feast. Low and behold, the little grandma later becomes a parade balloon. The Magic Tree (141 N. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park), also suggested Turk and Runt by Lisa Wheeler, a Thanksgiving comedy about two turkey friends. "Turk is this very fit turkey, that is everything you want in a turkey," says Hersh Glagov at the Magic Tree. When Turk finds himself in trouble, though, Runt saves the day. "I like the idea of presenting a turkey's point of view," Glagov says.
9 Play pin the tail feathers on the turkey.
Grab your crayons, a big piece of paper, a blindfold, some feathers and tape. Draw your own turkey, leaving out some feathers. The object is to pin the feathers as close to your turkey as possible. Winner gets to do the dishes.
10 Trace your turkey.
Creating your own turkey from your hand is a great way to celebrate. You will need a few sheets of construction paper-different colors-tape, scissors, glue, a pen and a hand. After tracing and cutting out a hand on construction paper, cut out two turkey feet and a beak on yellow paper. Glue everything to the body and decorate the fingers. Our turkey-hand kid-tester, William, chose to draw his feathers on the turkey. You can also use feathers or colored paper.
Kate Pancero is the assistant editor of Chicago Parent and editor of the E-News Update.